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India has a rich and varied textile heritage, where each region has its own unique native costume and traditional attire. Indian
clothing is popular for its colorfulness and grace. The uniqueness of
Indian culture lies in its geographical diversities, natural wealth, vast
population and people's attitude, among other things. Though the
majority of Indian women and men wear traditional costumes, the urban population
residing in cities can be found in more
conventional western clothing.
Traditional costumes in India vary widely depending on the climate and
natural fibres grown in a region. Usually the clothes are suitable
for the particular regions climate and overall comfort. In the cold northern state of Jammu and
Kashmir, people wear a thick loose shirt called a phiran to keep them
warm. In the tropical warmth of south India, men wear a sarong like garment
called the mundu, while women drape 5 meters of cloth around their bodies
in the graceful folds of the saree, the national dress of Indian women. Sarees
are also worn in different methods with respect to the age, occupation, region
and religion of a woman.
In the dry regions of Rajasthan
and Gujarat men wrap and twist a length of cloth in the form of a dhoti
around their lower limbs and a shirt-like kurta above. Colourful turbans
are also a significant feature of Rajasthani Men. Women in Rajasthan wear a
form of pleated skirt known as the ghagra or lehanga. The heads are covered by a length of fine cotton known as
orhni or dupatta.
In the northeastern regions the tribal communities
such as Khasis, Nagas, Mizos, Manipuris and Arunachalis wear colorful
woven sarong-like clothing and woven shawls that represent the identity of
each tribal group.
In urban India, the salwar kameez and the churidar kameez, are commonly
worn by women and the saree is worn on formal
occasions. Men wear kurtas and pajamas, or a sherwani for formal wear.